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Home / News / General / Hawaii’s cetaceans

Hawaii’s cetaceans

By: Denver Leaman

Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)
Suborder: Odonticeti Family: Delphinidae
Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

Other known names:

Whitebelly, Euphrosyne dolphin, Blue-white dolphin, Meyen's dolphin, Gray's dolphin, Streaker porpoise

Identity keys to use in the field:

Streamlined body; long slender beak; black stripe from eye to flipper; pale finger marking below fin; white or pink underside; fast active swimmer; often bow-rides; dark flippers, tail and fin

General description and habits:

The striped dolphin is fairly easy to identify from the distinctive strips on its sides and the pink undersides on some of the animals. One of its distinctive features is the pale gray, finger-shaped marking below the dorsal fin. The other unique feature is a black line that stretches from beak, around the eye patch to the underside of the rear flank. These features are easily seen when they race along with flying leaps. The striped dolphin is very streamlined with a long beak and large dorsal fin. Males are 1.9 - 2.6m, females 1.9 -2.1m, and newborns about 1m (39in). Adults range from 90 to 150kg. They are very agile and highly active, often spotted twisting and somersaulting as well as breaching to heights of 7 meters. They bow-ride but this behavior is seen mainly in the Atlantic Ocean, there are far fewer reports of this in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They form large social groups of 10 - 500 but can be found in schools of up to 3000. When swimming in such large groups, approximately one-third of the members can be seen above the surface at any one time.


Fish, squid and crustaceans


This species seems to prefer warmer waters and is mainly lives tropical and subtropical areas.

Population estimates:

While these dolphins are common in some areas, accurate estimates of population sizes are unknown.


Net entanglements are the main threat to striped dolphins. Drive fishing in Japan, where entire schools are driven close to shore and killed for their meat, is also a threat. Thousands of these animals can be killed annually.

Hawaii’s cetaceans
  • Humpback whales
  • Striped Dolphin
  • Spinner Dolphin
  • Baird’s Beaked Whale
  • Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Blainville's Beaked Whale
  • Bryde's Whale
  • Cuvier's Beaked Whale
  • Dwarf Sperm Whale
  • False Killer Whale
  • Fin Whale
  • Killer Whale
  • Melon-headed Whale
  • Minke Whale
  • Northern Right Whale
  • Pygmy Killer Whale
  • Pygmy Sperm Whale
  • Risso's Dolphin
  • Rough-toothed Dolphin
  • Short-finned Pilot Whale
  • Sperm Whale
  • Spotted Dolphin



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